HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Johnathan Joseph #24 of the Houston Texans intercepts a pass in the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals during their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Reliant Stadium on January 7, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Mark Dominik is in full spin mode as he tries to justify his spending habits the previous three seasons as contrasted with this year's balls to the wall spending spree. Mark Dominik's justification: last year just wasn't the right time, with a short offseason to get to know players and integrate them into your team. Besides, it's not "every year" that players like Vincent Jackson, Eric Wright and Carl Nicks hit the market.
Mark Dominik is doing his best impression of a politician cornered on his flip-flopping. My take: Dominik thought the team was farther along than it really was last season, and he's spending now because Greg Schiano demands it, because his own job is at stake if he doesn't win quickly, and because he knows he made a mistake last season - he just never admitted it.
Sure, Mark, it's not every year that Vincent Jackson hits the market. But last year there was Sidney Rice: a younger, arguably more talented deep threat. Sure, he had injury issues - but he also came much cheaper.
No, Mark, Eric Wright doesn't hit the market every year. Except he did hit the market last year. Oh, sure, you say you wanted him last year - then why didn't you make it happen then? Or failing that, why did you not sign someone else? You know who did hit the market last season? Nnamdi Asomugha and Johnathan Joseph. What, you want to say you prefer Eric Wright and this contract to those guys and their contracts? No way. I'm not even mentioning the many free agents at different positions who certainly could have helped the Bucs.
Ah, but you didn't have time to do extensive research on those players to see if they'd fit the culture. I can understand that. I mean, obviously the three months of constant coaching searches must have given you much more time to do the research than the four months of twiddling your thumbs during the lockout did last year, right?
Okay, but, free agency was a short period last year. There wasn't much time to examine these players before you had to make decisions on them. Unlike this year, when you signed three very expensive free agents within two days of the opening of free agency. Obviously, that gave you much more time than you had last season.
I'm sure that played a part. But how do you go from giving one contract to a punter to handing out over $140 million in contracts to four guys in three days, all because the offseason is a little shorter? You still had weeks to integrate these players in your football team, Mark. And, let's face it, it's not like free agents didn't have a major impact last season. How do you think the Texans and 49ers turned around their teams that quickly? A few key free agents helped in each case.
No, Mark, don't talk to me about finding the right opportunity, or the unique players. I like what you've done with the team during your tenure, mostly. You've had your share of mistakes, but I can see what you were trying to do in each case. Just don't give me this nonsense. You made a mistake in 2011, and now you're handing out humongous contracts to make it right. It's not hard to admit that. Just do so.